By SARAH JAQUAY
“Most of my bridal party identify as country music fans,” explained recently-married Amy Lash. Amy is a Floridian who married Northeast Ohio native Jason Lash last May.
She, like many other brides-to-be, wanted a destination bachelorette party. As Vegas is to stag parties (where Jason and his friends went), Nashville is to bachelorettes. Another reason she chose Nashville is that it’s easily accessible for her bridesmaids who were coming from Connecticut, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Amy had visited Nashville before her successful bachelorette weekend last March, but “It was cold so we couldn’t enjoy the rooftop bars or be outside very much.” Amy’s group had better luck this time. The weather was sunny except for the last day and they packed in tons of fun during their Music City sojourn.
The bride had enough to plan on her plate, so she delegated most of the itinerary to her maid of honor, her sister Brittany. “I don’t like to have a strict itinerary to follow,” notes Amy.
So Brittany planned a dressy dinner at Cabana Nashville in Hillsboro Village. This hip restaurant and bar offers semi-private booths with pillows, curtains and each cabana has its own television and music player hook-up. Groups can watch their own sporting event, bring a DVD for movie night or enjoy their own playlist. Cabana is quite popular with bachelorettes and their website says reservations are required for cabanas on weekends.
The bridal party also indulged in a wine and cheese tasting at Grinder’s Switch Winery in Marathon Village. Amy had hoped for a more extensive winery tour, but the logistics didn’t line up. She was especially interested in Arrington Vineyards, about 25 miles south of Nashville.
Arrington is a beautiful property and is owned by Kix Brooks (formerly of Brooks & Dunn) and his partners. It offers beautiful vistas and numerous venues for private events and weddings.
It’s a must-stop in Tennessee wine country.
The bride and her posse did squeeze in one of the “most cliché things to do for a bachelorette party”–a pedal bar. These contraptions function like rickshaws for six or eight people and can be seen in abundance around Nashville. The idea is to pedal your way from one tavern to the next. Brittany booked with Country Music Crawler. They cycled to four or five stops, including the venerable Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and The Stage on Broadway (where many of Nashville’s renowned honky tonks are located.) The group knew pedaling might get too strenuous so they chose a motorized pedal bar.
Another way to enjoy live music, see Nashville’s Music Row (where the publishers and studios are) and sip en route is to go with Songbird Tours. Billed as “Nashville’s most intimate listening room,” these tricked-out buses are set up with rear-facing seats and a small stage in the back of the bus where two singer/song-writers serenade guests as the bus wends its way down the streets of Music Row and makes a stop at Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern – a neighborhood hangout where songwriters debut their work.
When this reporter and her husband took a Songbird Tour, we discovered our duo had written songs for Faith Hill and Keith Urban. Listening to their melodious voices belt out ballads made us wonder why we’d never heard of them. In Nashville, it seems almost everyone with a superior set of pipes might have been a star. It’s a town teeming with talent and a limited amount of luck to go around—just like Hollywood.
Last fall, we noticed several bachelorette groups enjoying Nashville’s culinary scene at Woolworth on 5th. This restaurant serves upscale Southern cuisine and a delectable brunch (sweet potato pancakes with bourbon butter, a hoppin’ John omelette and of course, fried chicken and biscuits.) It’s located in the historic building where in February of 1960, students from Fisk University and others (including Congressman John Lewis) demonstrated against the immorality of “whites only” lunch counters. It resulted in their desegregation just a few months later.
Of course, there’s so much to do in Nashville even if one isn’t a country music fan who happens to be getting married: Visit Andrew Jackson’s home at The Hermitage or the fabulous American art collection at The Parthenon; take in a classical concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center—not to mention the range of cuisine and upscale restaurants from which to choose. (We thoroughly enjoyed Adele’s in the Gulch neighborhood last Halloween).
So whether you’re getting married, renewing your vows or just want a weekend of great music, food and culture, Nashville’s the place to be. For more information, visit musiccity.com